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Mining has provided the answer to the manufacturing and energy needs of the humanity in the past century. Mining community around the world has contributed to the enrichment of the world through industrial development. Minerals are valuable natural resources being finite and non-renewable. They constitute the vital raw materials for many basic industries and are a major resource for development.

Demand for minerals is expected to grow very fast, due to increasing levels of consumption, infrastructure development, and growth of the economy. Management of mineral resources has, therefore, to be closely integrated with the overall strategy of development and exploitation of minerals is to be guided by long-term national goals and perspectives.

In India, 80% of mining is in coal and the balance 20% is in various metals and other raw materials such as gold, copper, iron, lead, bauxite, zinc and uranium. India with diverse and significant mineral resources is the leading producer of some of the minerals. India is not endowed with all the requisite mineral resources. Of the 89 minerals produced in India, 4 are fuel minerals, 11 metallic, 52 non-metallic and 22 minor minerals.

India is the largest producer of mica blocks and mica splittings; ranks third in the production of coal & lignite, barytes and chromite; 4th in iron ore, 6th in bauxite and manganese ore, 10th in aluminium and 11th in crude steel. Iron-ore, copper-ore, chromite and or zinc concentrates, gold, manganese ore, bauxite, lead concentrates, and silver account for the entire metallic production. Limestone, magnesite, dolomite, barytes, kaolin, gypsum, apatite & phosphorite, steatite and fluorite account for 92 percent of non-metallic minerals. The index of mineral production, excluding fuel and atomic minerals, (base year 1993-94=100) for the year 2005-06 is expected to be 154.23 as compared to 153.48 in 2004-05.

Life Indices: Important non-fuel Minerals

Mineral/ Ore/ Metal

Recoverable reserves estimated as on 1.4.2000 (Based on exploration/ prospecting) Figure in million tonnes unless otherwise specified

Life Index (years) (m.tonnes)

Bauxite

2462*

211

Copper metal (tonnes)

5297,000

80

Lead metal (tonnes))

2381,000

45

Zinc metal (tonnes)

9707,000

45

Gold metal (tonnex)

68*

Not Estimated

Iron ore

13460*

131

Chromite Ore

97

46

Magnesite

245*

542

Manganese Ore

167*

47

Limestone

75679*

254

Phosphorite (Rock Phosphate)

142

79

Sillimanite

516*

Very large

Garnet

52*

90

Kyanite ( tonnes)

2817000*

265

Dolomite

4387*

438

Diamond ( Thousand carats)

982*

19

 

* Recoverable reserves estimated as on 1.4.1995.

 

Regulation of Minerals

Management of mineral resources in India is the responsibility of the Central Government and the State Governments in terms of Entry 54 of the Union List (List I) and Entry 23 of the State List (List II) of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution of India. The Central Government in consultation with the State Governments, formulates the legal measures for the regulation of mines and the development of mineral resources to ensure basic uniformity in mineral administration and to ensure that the development of mineral resources keeps pace, and is in consonance with the national policy goals. The regulation of mines and development of mineral resources in accordance with the national goals and priorities is the responsibility of the Central and State Governments.

The role to be played by the Central and State Governments in regard to mineral development has been extensively dealt in the Mines and Minerals (Regulation and Development) Act, 1957 and rules made under the Act by the Central Government and the State Governments in their respective domains. The provisions of the Act and the Rules are reviewed from time to time and harmonised with the policies governing industrial and socio-economic developments in India.

The Mines and Minerals (Regulation and Development) Act, 1957 lays down the legal frame-work for the regulation of mines and development of all minerals other than petroleum and natural gas. The Central Government has framed the Mineral Concession Rules 1960 for regulating grant of prospecting licences and mining leases in respect of all minerals other than atomic minerals and minor minerals. The State Governments have framed the rules in regard to minor minerals. The Central Government has also framed the Mineral Conservation and Development Rules, 1988 for conservation and systematic development of minerals. These are applicable to all minerals except coal, atomic minerals and minor minerals.

National Mineral Policy

A national mineral policy has evolved over the years in India. The policy emphasizes the need for conservation and judicious exploitation of finite mineral resources through scientific methods of mining, beneficiation and economic utilisation. Simultaneously, it keeps in view the present & future needs of defence and development of India and strives to ensure indigenous availability of basic and strategic minerals to avoid disruption of core industrial production in times of international strife.

The basic objectives of the mineral policy in respect of minerals are:

(a) to explore for identification of mineral wealth in the land and in off-shore areas;

(b) to develop mineral resources taking into account the national and strategic considerations and to ensure their adequate supply and best use keeping in view the present needs and future requirements;

(c) to promote necessary linkages for smooth and uninterrupted development of the mineral industry to meet the needs of India;

(d) to promote research and development in minerals;

(e) to ensure establishment of appropriate educational and training facilities for human resources development to meet the manpower requirements of the mineral industry;

(f) to minimise adverse effects of mineral development on the forest, environment and ecology through appropriate protective measures; and

(g) to ensure conduct of mining operations with due regard to safety and health of all concerned.

According to the policy, induction of foreign technology and foreign participation in exploration and mining for high value and scarce minerals shall be pursued. Foreign equity investment in joint ventures in mining promoted by Indian companies would be encouraged. While foreign investment in equity would normally be limited to 50%, this limitation would not apply to captive mines of any mineral processing industry. Enhanced equity holding can also be considered on a case to case basis. In respect of joint venture mining projects of minerals & metals in which India is deficient or does not have exportable surplus, a stipulated share of production would have to be made available to meet the needs of the domestic market before exports from such projects are allowed. In case of ores whose known reserves are not abundant, preference will be given to those who propose to take up their mining for captive use.

The policy also addresses certain aspects and elements like mineral exploration in the sea-bed, development of proper inventory, proper linkage between exploitation of minerals and development of mineral industry, protection of forest, preference to members of the scheduled tribes for development of small deposits in scheduled areas, environment and ecology from the adverse effects of mining, enforcement of mining plan for adoption of proper mining methods and optimum utilisation of minerals, export of minerals in value added form and recycling of metallic scrap & mineral waste.


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